Myth 8: Hyper-Grace Preachers Disregard the Words of Jesus

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“Hyper-grace preachers say the words of Jesus are not for us. They have no authority and are irrelevant to the modern church.”

One of the strangest claims made against hyper-grace preachers is that we are dismissive of the pre-cross teachings of Jesus. In point of fact, hyper-grace preachers are the only ones taking Jesus seriously. When Jesus is preaching law, we say that’s authentic law, not to be taken lightly. And when Jesus is revealing grace, we bow in awestruck gratitude. We would not dare re-interpret his words with qualifiers and caveats.

In contrast, those who preach a mixed-grace message dismiss the hard words of Jesus as hyperbole and exaggeration. “Jesus didn’t mean what he said about chopping off limbs or being perfect.” Like the Pharisees of old, they pick and choose those commands which are to be followed while disregarding others as metaphorical, unreal, and not to be taken seriously.

To be fair, the misperception that hyper-grace preachers reject the teachings of Jesus is based on a kernel of truth, which is this: Everything Jesus said is good, but not everything Jesus said is good for you. Or to put it another way, Jesus spoke words the whole world needs to hear, but you are not the whole world.

What you hear in the words of Jesus reflects what is in your heart. If you are standing on your own righteousness you will hear law like you’ve never heard it before. “You have heard it said … but I say unto you …”

Jesus preached tough, merciless law that leaves no margin for error. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The message is clear. Either you must be perfect or you must be represented by One who is.

However, if you already know that you are not perfect, you need to hear Jesus’ words of grace. You need to hear him speak about his Father who loves you, cares for you, and offers you his righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

THG_sideA mixed-grace preacher reads the words of Jesus selectively but a hyper-grace preacher values everything Jesus says. He recognizes that Jesus is the perfect Physician who always prescribes the perfect medicine. He gives law to the smug and grace to the needy. No matter who you are or where you are on your journey, Jesus has life-saving words for you.

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Extracted from The Hyper-Grace Gospel,pp.39-41.

27 Comments on Myth 8: Hyper-Grace Preachers Disregard the Words of Jesus

  1. John Campbell // March 4, 2015 at 1:03 am // Reply

    I preach Grace on revelation TV but was challenged recently in an article which made just this accusation. Grace preachers put the words of Paul above the words of Jesus it said. I was hugely challenged by that because Romans 1-8 are my feeding grounds. “Is it true?” I asked the Lord. In church the next day He answered my question when into my spirit dropped theses words, (uninvited and out of the blue if you see what I mean!), “Paul’s words ARE my words!” Of course they are! Silly me!

  2. I love the grace message, and recognizing that Jesus used hyperbole and other rabbinic teaching methods common to his time does not make me “mixed grace”! What you have done is accuse people of choosing to discount Jesus’ words by being selective, while at the same time you discount Jesus’ audience by the same selectivity. Jesus’ words about cutting off hands and feet have to do with being radical about avoiding sin, which grace enables us to do.

    • John Campbell // March 4, 2015 at 6:31 am // Reply

      I am not sure whether this response was to my post above. If so, I have been misunderstood, though I am not offended I promise you! Never would I discount the words of Jesus, but I do recognise that He never preached against the Law as to do so would have nullified His mission to fulfil it. Often Jesus’s teachings were pure Law and they were certainly never contrary to it. As Martyn Lloyd Jones would say, “to listen to the sermon on the mount” is to be utterly condemned! Jesus uses the impossible demands of the Law to drive us to Him and the cross. Now when we review His teachings through the lens of the cross and through the filter of His Blood we see unadulterated grace in our redemption from the call of the impossible and our eternal security in being joined to Him in newness of life.

      My point in my post is that all Scripture is written by the Holy Spirit and therefore all words are the words of Jesus and Paul’s message of grace is straight from the mouth of The Lord.

      • Well stated John Campbell!!

        I think of the the excitement I experienced when I read the sermon on the mount in light of Jesus showing the futility of attempting to be justified by our own righteousness and how much it made sense.

        Thanks for sharing

      • It’s been my recent observation as a Newley grace believer. Or should I say, a born again christian who finally began to understand grace. Is that so many believers do not think that God has the propensity to use hyperbole or figures is speech if you will. The extreme comments made by Jesus were not exaggerations lest he be guilty of his own words of letting your yea be yea and nay be nay! But too many of Us believers make commandments out of his extreme (yet valid) advice. Knowing full well that we are NOT capable of reaching those standards. That’s why there’s a mindset held by many law-based Christians that says: “The christian life is a continuous life of repentance”. So we spend more time on our knees begging for forgivness than being on our feet proclaiming his goodness. Talk about wasting valuable time!

  3. Feeling a little embarrassed,thank you Paul, just had some new revelation which I should have known already,i hate it when that happens, Thats the way it goes sometimes you cant see the forest for the trees

  4. Matt 16:20 is a command by Jesus to His disciples… “Then charged He his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” To assume that everything Jesus says is to all men for all time, is not only wrong, but the result of being too lazy to seek out what Jesus said, to whom He said it, and why He said it. Even many in the faith camp take things Jesus says to ONLY His disciples, and apply it to themselves…

    John 14:12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

    The careful reader will discover that Jesus was only speaking to those of the 12 who believe in Him, and not all men for all time. Millions of believers have been led astray by this one single error. Same with 1 John 1:9; Mark 16:15, and many other verses that I could share, that even most of those reading this would not accept. Even the most committed proponents of the gospel of grace and peace still read mail meant for someone else, and then try and fit the apostle Paul’s gospel into it. And then we wonder why so many teachers and an occasional “Dr” are so off course.

  5. I think of Jesus’s words as “upping the ante.” The purpose of the law is to show us that we have failed and can’t do it on our own, but the Pharisees found a way to convince themselves that they were fulfilling the law. Jesus ups the stakes, and rightly so, by pointing out that fulfilling the law is matter of the heart, something the Pharisees couldn’t do (or any of us). Like the law itself, Jesus was just trying to get them (and us) to admit we’ve failed and accept his grace.

  6. “What you hear in the words of Jesus reflects what is in your heart.”

  7. Paul, are you familiar with Ray Comfort’s teachings regarding the law and using it to preach to unbelievers. I’ve heard his teaching many years ago that the law was meant to show us our need for salvation vs something that we must try to satisfy. He said back then something similar to what you said to give to the proud the law but to the humble grace. Always wondered what you think of Ray and his followers who preach the law to the lost.

  8. Brian Midmore // March 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm // Reply

    It is very confusing if we talk only in generalities and don’t consider specifics. Consider Jesus teaching on adultery in heart when we lust after someone (Matt 528). Yes, Jesus is upping the ante; he is saying that just keeping you self to yourself is not enough but your thoughts must be pure too. Yes this does undermine the Pharisees hypocrisy, but it also speaks to us,and our hypocrisy. Jesus words are directed to the Pharisees and humanity which includes Christians. If I lust after women I am a hypocrite and I have sinned. I have broken the commandment ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.

    • So Brian please clarify; based on your belief, when you lust, or covet, or call a driver an idiot or a fool, or hate in anger or forget the sabbath (assuming you start the Sabbath on Friday evening of course) what happens next?

      I mean are you saying you never do those things? Or are you saying that for period of time you are a hypocrite? And if the latter; when do you stop being a hypocrite? What happens if you die during this time period?

      Thank you

    • Yes, if you lust you have broken the commandment against adultery, but what is the remedy? His work on the cross. The summation of Jesus’s argument is you need salvation, but we already know that. If we are tempted to try to be good enough, this stands as a reminder. You need his salvation, and that is all you need, and nothing else will help you. At some point, the commandment itself ceases to be a useful yardstick. It is axiomatic; I am a sinner. I already know that, and I know the remedy.

      That I sin is assumed, the particular sin is not that relevant. My personal conviction is that I won’t stop lusting in my heart by trying not to lust in my heart, it is more likely that I’ll lust more. (I believe Romans 5:20 backs that up.) The remedy is more of Him in my life. Let him renew my mind. More specifically, to the extent that sin has ebbed in my life, it can be traced to the fact that it is not consistent with my goals (1 Corinthians 10:23).

  9. The problem I have with the theory that Jesus used hyperbole is that He is Lord, His words have power, it’s like the law of the Medes and Persians it cannot be revoked. So when He says better to cut of you hand or gouge out your eye he means it. The Lord has spoken. But I know that everything Jesus demanded He accomplished in His own body . He was cut off that I would not be cut off. It is His obedience that I am depending on. He was rejected so I would be accepted.

    • John Campbell // March 9, 2015 at 11:34 am // Reply

      One needs to be a bit careful with the text Michael because much of the gospels are idiomatic Hebrew that has been translated literally. For example, when Jesus warns against having an evil eye He is referring to meanness and lack of charity. In modern-day Israel someone waving a collection tin in front of you will usually invite you to “have a good eye”. Similarly when Jesus is talking of moving mountains by faith, all this makes more sense when we understand that the rabbis were known as “mountain movers”.

      With regard to cutting off hands and gouging out eyes – in idiomatic Hebrew the hand refers to your authority; and the eye, as inferred above, to your inclination. In other words, get a grip of yourself and stop doing what you know you should not be doing.

      Many of Jesus’ sayings are strange when rendered literally in English but they would have been clearly understood by his listeners. Imagine for example if I were to write a letter saying that in order to get to heaven one has to first “kick the bucket”! Of course I understand the expression to mean “to die”, but goodness knows what an indigenous Hebrew would make of such an expression.

      Notwithstanding all that your summary is absolutel right. In Him we are saved, are being saved and will be ultimately saved. Here in the grace of God we stand. Hallelujah! 

      • I appreciate your thoughts, John, and I also appreciate that much is lost in translation when idioms are used. But I do wonder if Jesus was speaking idiomatically when he spoke about looking at women with lust in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5). Surely he was speaking plainly, not idiomatically. He’s saying, “This is what adultery looks like. This is how you break the law.” And he’s still speaking plainly in the next sentence when he says “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” That’s not an idiom; that’s a most reasonable statement to make to someone who thinks they can justify themselves by observing the law. So is “be perfect,” which comes a few sentences later.

    • I don’t think hyperbole is the right word. Hyperbole is an exaggeration for effect. He’s not exaggerating really. He is saying that under the law you REALLY should do this. But we are not under the law. He is trying to get you to see that you have no choice but to accept grace. The reality is that under the law if you so much as look at a woman with just a tiny bit of lust (For instance), you’re dead. You must give up all hope of being good enough and trust completely in him. He is dead serious about the requirements, and I literally thank God for my exemption!

      • John Campbell // March 9, 2015 at 9:59 pm //

        Absolutely Paul. Please forgive me if it appeared I was saying that we can’t read Jesus off the page literally. We most certainly can. But those expressions He uses which seem strange and difficult to take literally are usually idiomatic and are worth digging into. The message they convey should not be watered down but understanding them makes it easier to apply them to our lives where we are able to do so! Generally we fail, as we all know, as it is not us who sins but sin in us. Our need of his grace is total.

  10. Everything Jesus asked of the Father in John 17 is extrapolated in Paul’s letters. I realize that’s not the same question. But, it seems clear any apparent contradiction between Jesus and Paul is a false dichotomy.

  11. “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

    I personally believe that everything in the Bible is subjective, hence the living word. That’s the beauty and power of the testaments. In this passage, I perceive this with cutting out all things in my life that are leading me to sin. Disposing of all gateways to sin, be it people, my computer, addictions ect….

    The mind is the computer that controls our systematic response to the body, but the soul pays the price to our actions of response, not our brain. For our souls are completely unattached to human actions, but is the only thing that is affected by it. (aka Satan’s control)

    Our nerves conduct feeling throughout our bodies, they control all our senses, except our soul. Ironically enough, this is the main “artery” where one stores and feels all emotional pain.

    The brain can heal the soul, just as much as it can damage it. This is the problem with today’s lack of understanding with general wisdom. People have completely neglected the reality of God and our souls. Human’s have become masochists through their own flawed design of ignorance. People have become codependent on human knowledge as a way of survival.

    Human’s have used and abused the book of the bible since the beginning of time, they use it as a source of protection, not understanding that all things must be learned through endurance and through God. The mark of the beast is nothing more than indoctrination to the brain as a sense of control.

    We’ve created a society of banal accomplishments that have regressed us into slaves to sin, far from the bigger and more precious goal of seeking the Father’s love and favor. I believe that if people don’t truly start seeking the truth, that they will, sadly, in the end pay the highest price. I am not even sure I am saved from Gods wrath, for I am not that presumptuous to put words into His mouth. However, I do know that I am his servant and if it be his will, I will endure it, for it is a small price to pay for his Divine and precious love. That is all I want from this earth, and all I want more than anything, is to go to Heaven.

    • More than wanting to go to Heavan , you should seek a relationship with God you may find that he is more gracious than you have been led to believe, and that you are much more than a servant.

  12. I will tell you what I think in just a few words! Each and everyone of you need to get a copy of the Matthew Henry Complete Commentary and read it along withe the King James Version of the Bible! Stop trying to reason it out and pray and study it out with GOD ALMIGHTY, our LORD AND SAVIOR! IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!!

  13. Maybe these “strange claims” arise as a direct result of deliberately inflammatory comments made by these teachers, such as: ” ‘Don’t stray too far from the red letters,’ is a piece of advice often given to new preachers. It means, stay close to the teachings of Jesus and you can’t go wrong. It sounds good, but it’s actually bad advice.” In their zeal to make a point, these teachers unwittingly set themselves up for rightly deserved criticism, which is not the ranting of some legalistic Pharisee, but a valid response to such pointedly slanted an imbalanced rhetoric. Be careful, teachers; you’ll be judged more strictly.

    • Since I am the teacher you quote Lance, I would like to learn more about the strict judgment you think I deserve. Or are you just flinging mud to see what sticks?

      • You could always take the mud people toss and use it with the bricks others throw and build something with it!🙂
        Jesus’ red letter words are awesome but the flesh and/or unrenewed mind can make an ungodly legalistic mess with them without even meaning to. <—–experience speaking

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